Devotional – Grandpa’s Letter

To save money while in grad school, my grandparents graciously allowed me to move in with them, rent-free. It was a little humbling after living “on my own” for a year after college, but looking back, I wouldn’t trade that season of life for anything. I had the privilege relating to my grandparents as an “adult,” and yet still enjoy being spoiled as a grandkid. It was the best of both worlds.

My grandfather was especially talented at anticipating my every possible whim, often before I did. If I was laying in the hammock in the backyard, it wasn’t long before he arrived with a pillow, blanket, and a glass of water. If I was reading on the porch in the afternoon sun, he was soon plugging in a fan and a handing me bowl of peeled and cut apples “for no extra charge.” Sometimes I felt bad, and tried to let him know I was fine, but I soon realized he got a lot of joy out of it. So I learned to relax and enjoy it too.

Besides his accommodating kind deeds, he also tried to shield me from what he thought would disturb me. My brother once told me that Grandpa, who had a very soft heart toward animals, felt that he needed to put down a stray cat who was feral and diseased. After putting the suffering cat to rest with a single shot from his pellet gun, he went through great efforts to hide and dispose of the dead cat as secretly as possible, even using my brother as an “accomplice” in the late-night hours. Grandpa told my brother that he was afraid I would be devastated at the loss of life if I found out.

But perhaps one of my favorite memories of Grandpa during that season of life was the time I checked my post office box and found a letter…from Grandpa. He often would check their mailbox and mine (I gave him the combination) on his trips to the post office, but on this particular day, I checked my own mailbox. While I don’t have the letter in front of me to give a direct quote, it read something like this:

Dear Andrea,

I got tired of checking your mailbox and finding no mail. So I decided you should get a letter. But to make it worth the stamp and trip to the post office, I thought the letter should have something in it, thus the $10 bill.

Love,

Grandpa

There was a whole lot of love packed into that simple, post-office-delivered letter. And I think it’s a little mirror into a greater love we often take for granted. We live in His household, under His protection and care, bearing His name and truly wanting to bear His image to others we hope will join the family. But sometimes we forget the most important part of the whole thing—God’s personal love for us.

We often fear “disappointing” God with our words or actions, but I have a feeling that if there is anything that disappoints God the most, it’s our attempts to live a good Christian life—a good Adventist life, a good missionary life—without internalizing His life-giving love for us displayed so extravagantly on the cross. Conversely, perhaps nothing brightens His day more than when we discover it!

And so, to His own delight, God often gets creative in sending us little messages packed with love: a Scripture, song, conversation, gift, or burden lifted. Not because of how successful (or unsuccessful) we are in our teaching or ministering or serving, but just because He loves us personally and wants to remind us. Jesus’ self-sacrificing love on the cross doesn’t end during a quiet evening at vespers when you give your heart to Him—that is only the beginning. If we let His special reminders in our every-day world open us up to His powerful, refreshing, healing love, we find that this love is actually the key to Christ-like living. Because we can only bear His image as we abide in His love.

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” – 1 John 4:16

Once or twice a month, we send out a short devotional to our volunteers.  This was written by Andrea Keele, and was sent to our volunteers on April 12, 2017.

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